Qatar Airways Debuts New Economy Class

When you think Qatar Airways, you probably think of their Qsuites product. It’s widely considered the world’s best business class – better than some airlines first class products, with privacy doors and double beds. What you probably don’t think about is their economy class.

Qatar Qsuites (courtesy of QatarAirways.com)

Qatar Airways is hoping to change that perception.

Last year, Qatar’s outspoken CEO, Akbar Al Baker, stated that Qatar Airways would unveil a “revolutionary” new economy class in 2019. However, this Monday, Al Baker tapered expectations saying the airline would be revealing their “newly-enhanced” economy class product on Wednesday. Not known as one to make modest claims, this caused many to believe there weren’t any major changes afoot.

What’s Changing?

Yesterday at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show, Qatar Airways unveiled their new economy class seat. The new enhancements include:

  • Innovative semi-fixed back shell design with 19-degree recline system
  • Comfortable take-off and landing with pre-recline position of 6 degrees
  • Enhanced legroom
  • Adjustable, lightweight headrest
  • Dual multi-functional tables for maximum adaptability and table space
  • 13.3-inch 4K widescreens
  • Enhanced connectivity and faster Wi-Fi
  • USB Type-C with high power fast charging capabilities
  • Personal comfort amenity kits

The fixed shell seat and new screens will be the most noticeable improvements for passengers. This will allow passengers to recline without having to worry about reclining into the personal space of the person behind you. It’s also worth noting that the new seats will be slimline seats, meaning lack of padding may become an issue on longer flights.

Qatar Airways New Economy Seat (courtesy of Qatar Airways)

At 13.3”, the new seatback screen will be larger than some airlines’ business class screens. While 4K sounds nice, I’m not sure 4K definition will be noticeable at that screen size. If you like bigger screens though, this will be a welcome upgrade for you.

During their presentation, Qatar also introduced their “Quisine” dining. This will include enhanced meal service with larger portions and improved appetizers, meals, and desserts. While specifics weren’t given, Qatar also promised additional regional options.

The new economy seat will debut later this year when Qatar begins taking delivery of their new A321neo aircraft.

Final Thoughts

While we pride ourselves on being No Mas Coach, we appreciate when someone tries to make the experience in economy more pleasant (aside from the usual “enhancements” 😉). These are definitely improvements, but far from what I’d consider “revolutionary”. Qatar Airways has historically been one of the more innovative airlines when it comes to the on-board product, especially in business class.

Thompson Aero’s Cozy Suite Concept

However, I can’t help but feel disappointed by this announcement. Qatar had an opportunity to introduce something truly revolutionary like a staggered seating configuration. Instead, we got basically the same seat with a bigger TV screen.

What are your thoughts on Qatar’s new economy class?

Author: Stephen Hoechst

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2 Comments

  1. On the “enhanced legroom”, how many inches of pitch will there be? Also, I just read that the new seats will be slimline, which is super rough on any flight over a couple of hours. Given Qatar’s average route length, this bodes very ill.

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    • Seat pitch hasn’t been announced yet, but I would expect it to be consistent with their existing fleet at 31-32″. The “enhanced legroom” will likely come from the slimline seats and not having someone recline into your space. Agreed on the lack of cushioning though!

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